Report: Nike to Stop Making the FuelBand After Hardware Division Layoffs

Apr 19, 2014 | Brittany Shelton |

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UPDATE: In a statement emailed to Re/code, Nike underscored that the Nike+ FuelBand SE remains an important part of their business, and that the company “will continue to improve the Nike+ FuelBand App, launch new METALUXE colors, and will sell and support the Nike+ FuelBand SE for the foreseeable future.” We will continue to update as information regarding the future of the FuelBand and other Nike hardware is released.

Nike spokesman Brian Strong has revealed that the Beaverton-based brand’s priorities are shifting, leading to layoffs in the Digital Sport category. “As our Digital Sport priorities evolve, we expect to make changes within the team, and there will be a small number of layoffs. We do not comment on individual employment matters,” he told CNET.

This means that the team responsible for fitness wearables, the FuelBand in particular, is getting smaller. CNET’s report goes into even greater detail regarding the Digital Sport division and the recent layoffs via information from a person familiar with the matter:

Nike’s Digital Sport hardware team focused on areas like industrial design; manufacturing operations; electrical and mechanical hardware engineering; and software interface design. Products included not only the FuelBand but also the Nike+ sportwatch and other, more peripheral sport-specific initiatives.

Of those 70 employees, about 70 percent to 80 percent — or as many as 55 people — were let go, the person said, asking not to be identified because the information was confidential. Some of the employees will be staying on at Nike through May. It’s unclear how many current employees, if any, have been internally recruited to join other Nike divisions. Nike Digital Tech, responsible for Web software, was not affected.

For now, the Nike+ FuelBand SE will stay on shelves, but for the most part, the brand will focus on fitness and athletic software rather than hardware. With the recent launch of the Nike+ Fuel Lab in San Francisco, Nike already has an incubator for future FuelBand successors that will operate within the Nike+ ecosystem, and they are also set to publicly release an API this fall. Analysts also think a partnership between Nike and Apple is a no-brainer, with Apple hardware ultimately supporting Nike software.

Are you sad to hear the the FuelBand may soon be leaving shelves, or are you excited about the possibility of new products incorporating Nike+ and NikeFuel technology? Let us know in the comments.

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